JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN, 23 JUNE – In order to contain the spread of COVID-19 in South Sudan UNDP and UNICEF announced today they are going to distribute 258,620 face masks throughout the country. This initiative follows the recommendation by the World Health Organisation promoting face masks as an effective way to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19. While announcing the distribution of the masks, the UN Agencies highlight that people can also make face masks themselves using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines that have been shared widely.
South Sudan has now recorded 1,900 COVID-19 infections. This figure continues to grow daily. Regular hand washing with soap, avoiding hand shacking, practising physical distancing and staying home and calling the toll-free number 6666 when suffering from COVID-19 liked symptoms, remain key preventive measures people should continue to practise.
In addition, people are urged to wear reusable face masks in public places and congested areas to protect them from spreading the disease. To promote the use of face masks, UNDP and UNICEF have started distributing reusable masks among vulnerable communities and groups across the country. This distribution will be further scaled in the coming weeks in Juba as well as across the states, including in Aweil, Bor, Kuajok, Malakal, Rumbek, Torit, Wau, Yambio and Yei.
“A multisectoral approach in South Sudan is key to equipping the health sector to limit the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate the potential impact on communities and the economy. Through UNDP and UNICEF’s joint efforts to locally produce and distribute reusable face masks, we are addressing the growing demand for face masks to protect people from transmitting the virus while also creating employment and income generation opportunities for people,” said Dr. Kamil Kamaluddeen, Resident Representative, UNDP South Sudan.
Finding innovative local solutions to challenges, the reusable face masks are being produced by 230 tailoring units in vocational training centres supported by UNDP in six locations, as well as by community groups UNICEF has been partnering with.
“We are grateful to our donors thanks to whom we are able to produce and distribute face masks to the most vulnerable. Meanwhile we remind people they can also easily make face masks themselves and to continue observing physical distancing, handwashing with soap and respiratory hygiene measures”, said Dr Mohamed Ayoya, UNICEF Representative in South Sudan. “This is important because these preventive measures are much more effective when observed together.”
The distribution by UNDP and UNICEF of face masks to the population of South Sudan is made possible thanks to the generous donations of USAID/Bureau of Humanitarian Affairs, Sweden, Canada and the Kingdom of the Netherlands.